June 15, 2010

Rowan's Millinery Petition

According to Hugh Muir of The Guardian UK, the Archbishop of Canterbury asked our Primate, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, not to wear a mitre or carry a crozier when she preached -- as she was licensed to do -- at Southwark Cathedral the other day.

Muir suggests some might see this as "petty" but let us not underestimate the power of haberdashery. After all, strip away all the vestments of the English Episcopate and you will have a shivering collection of generally pasty male Brits, with a few exotic flavours mixed in for good measure. And allow a woman in authority actually to cover her head as Scripture mandates -- with a sign of her authority publicly to preach and pray (1 Corinthians 11:5,10) -- and who knows what people might think!

Meanwhile, it is a truism that when people have no power over great things they descend to controlling the few small things they can.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG


LKT said...

It's sad, really. I wouldn't have guessed that ++Williams would grasp at authority this way, making himself only weaker in the process.

Good to see the word "millinery" back in use, though.

Laura Toepfer

R said...

'Tis really all spectacularly sad!

Erika Baker said...

Am I the only one who loved the imagery of Bp Katharine carrying her mitre instead of leaving it in the vestry? No row, no fuss, no tears, just a dignified subversion of what was being so rudely asked of her.
What a woman!

William Henry Benefield said...

Hmmmmm...while I like the idea of her carrying the miter in procession for its own symbolism - why not show up in Rochet and Chimere - isn't that the natural, logical thing to wear as a bishop if the miter is banned in certain church circles? It is still episcopal dress symbolizing she is a bishop of the Church and there are certainly photos of bishops with no Y chromosomes at Lambeth Conferences wearing them on English soil going back to 1998. While I'm not a fan of its use as Eucharistic vestments it would have respected +Rowan's request in not wearing a miter without compromising her dignity as an American bishop.

James said...

I'm old enough to remember when a bishop never appeared in mitre, cope or with crozier outside of his own diocese. So that part doesn't bother me.

But if Rowan really did issue that order, then shame on him. But it's hard to add more shame to him than is already residing in him.

I wonder, has he told The Queen to leave the crown in the Tower next opening of Parliament?

June Butler said...

Ah, William Henry, methinks +Katharine compromised her dignity not at all. We all know whose dignity was compromised.

...you will have a shivering collection of generally pasty male Brits, with a few exotic flavours mixed in for good measure.


Marshall Scott said...

Tobias, I started to suggest that if you could produce a resolution in Indianapolis in support of the Millinery Goals I would co-sponsor. However, it came to me that many have been supporting one set of Millinery Goals for a long time.

The Very Rev. Daniel B. Brown said...

Bless their hearts. First the pallium now this. Cantaurs have always had authority issues.

Allen said...

As your clever title suggests, Rowan is growing more like the querulous puritans and less like the judicious Hooker. How strange!

Brother David said...

This is nothing new. He has never let her vest as a bishop on any of her trips to England since she became PB, outside of she and the gals at official events of the Lambeth Conference.

He does not allow +Gene to either. Nor does he allow +Gene to preside.

Anonymous said...

This is not something that the ABC came up with it has been standard procedure for years if not decades. Since the CoE has not authorized female Bishops any female Bishop from another province whether they are a primate or not is received as a priest only. This seems to be a continued smear campaign against the ABC by more liberal factions. Which is surprising as the ABC is pretty darn Liberal. If the EC wants to leave the communion fine fulfill your ministry as you understand it, if you want to stay a member but continue your current policies fine don't make it a point of contention by trying to make it the new norm for the other provinces because not only will it destroy the Communion for you but also for the rest of us that see this as a non issue.This is a Church not pro wrestling so lets stop pitting Bishop vs Bishop and hooting and booing for our champions and our perceived enemies.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Thanks to those who have perceived the "tongue in cheek" aspect of this comment, with a special Prize to Allen for recognizing the reference!

Other, such as "Anonymous" are taking this all far too seriously. I am, shall I say, intimately familiar with the English regs on these topics, including the Women Ordained Abroad measure (actually, I didn't think they had to be ordained to be a broad... but that's another tongue in another cheek and I'd best be careful not to be taken too seriously!) It is England that adopted this "communion-breaking" and very un-Anglican model for the non-recognition of ministries, as Abp Runcie acknowledged after the election of Barbara Harris. (Of course, as I noted in another post, under the Act of Parliament that allowed for TEC bishops, no such bishop was ever to function on British soil...)

The issue here is really the pettiness of the English fixation on vestments -- which has been going on for centuries -- remember the "Ornaments Rubric"? And as I noted at the Episcopal Cafe, I'm familiar enough with the minutiae to know which way the crook should point when a bishop carries a crozier. (There is an old joke about Bishop's carrying the crook as a sign of office, while Primates get the double-cross!)

The issue for me is the patheticness of the English fixing on the wearing of vestments (or not) as somehow "meaningful" -- and as a sop to the conservative factions. The idea that it is "standard procedure" is what is truly dizzyingly trivial.

Oh, and Anonymous, please identify yourself in future; and take a chill pill!

Erika Baker said...

I do take it seriously because it has offended so many people. Are you in TEC really expected to understand the court ritual of the CoE that owes so much more to France under Louis XIII than anything a church in genuine communion with churches all over the world could come up with?

I'm not normally for making the church "relevant", but this is pathetic!!

R said...

And it continues to get worse.

How odd -- or maybe not so -- in light of our epistle reading for this coming Sunday.

It truly speaks for itself!

The Religious Pícaro said...

A look at older photographs show that women bishops HAVE been allowed to wear mitres at CodE functions in the past, effectively giving the lie to the assertion that this is "standard procedure."

I never really bought the idea that the PB has attracted the ire of so many reactionaries was because of her gender; I thought that the casual sexism so many engage in when discussing her was simply the result of peevishness on the Right's part. I think now I was wrong. I think that an awful lot of the bad blood between some parts of the Communion and ECUSA is not only that we consecrate women bishop, but that our Primate is one.

seamus said...

What disturbs me more is that she was vetted with a background check for the authenticity of her orders by Lambeth in a sorry attempt to belittle and demean the Primate and by extension the Episcopal Church.

IT said...

BillyD, i think that is exactly it.

While I do not doubt Their ire at Gene RObinson and all he represents for GLBT inclusion, I have come to believe that the also use that as a mask for their even greater dismay at letting Wimmin become bishops. But misogyny is less defensible in this society than heterosexism.